Allahabad High Court: Liking Controversial Social Media Posts Not Subject to IT Act Section 67

LI Network

Published on: October 26, 2023 at 12:05 IST

The Allahabad High Court has ruled that merely liking a controversial post on social media will not be subject to punishment under Section 67 of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008.

In a recent case, the court granted an Application that sought to dismiss the chargesheet, cognizance order, and non-bailable warrant against an individual who had liked such a post on social media.

Section 67 of the IT Act is specifically aimed at dealing with obscene material and does not encompass provocative content.

Justice Arun Kumar Singh Deshwal clarified this by stating, “In the present case, it is alleged that there is material in the case diary showing that the applicant has liked the post of one Farhan Usman for unlawful assembly, but liking a post will not amount to publishing or transmitting the post; therefore, merely liking a post will not attract Section 67 I.T. Act.”

The court highlighted that Section 67 of the IT Act pertains to obscene material and not provocative material. The words “lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest” indicate a connection to sexual interest and desire, meaning that Section 67 of the IT Act does not impose penalties for other provocative material.

The applicant faced allegations of posting provocative messages on social media, which led to an unauthorized assembly of around 600-700 individuals from the Muslim community, posing a potential threat to public peace.

The Application was filed with the objective of quashing the chargesheet, cognizable order, and non-bailable warrant related to a case registered under Sections 147, 148, and 149 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 67 of the IT Act.

In a prior order, the court had instructed the Investigating Officer to submit a report on all relevant materials in the case diary. The Investigating Officer relied on a post that the Appellant had liked.

The court clarified that Section 67 of the IT Act imposes punishment only when someone publishes or transmits material in electronic form that tends to deprave and corrupt individuals who access the content.

The court emphasized that a post or message is considered published when it is posted, and it is considered transmitted when shared or retweeted.

In conclusion, the court allowed the Application in this case, asserting that liking a post on social media, even if provocative, does not fall within the purview of Section 67 of the IT Act. This ruling provides a significant legal clarification regarding the application of this specific provision.

Case Title: Mohd Imran Kazi v State of U.P. and Another

Also Read: What kind of acts will be sexually explicit under Information Technology Act?

Related Post